"In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Qui-rin-i-us was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.
He went to be registered with Mary to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

Luke 2: 1-7 (NRSV)

God becomes human undergoes the stresses of being born feeling the hunger natural to human babies totally dependent on the man and woman charged with his care. Far from home, Mary and Joseph themselves in need of help help mainly given to them by strangers. The accommodation was meagre yet the innkeeper the shepherds and the kings offered hope and reassurance to the young couple in those early days of becoming a family.

In difficult times of sickness and worry, we often find comfort and solace from people we do not know doctors, nurses and other care staff give their time and skills to easing our suffering. Others who are going through similar experiences often experience a solidarity that draws strangers into if not exactly friends people who understand.

Pray for the people who, though they do not know personally those they help, nonetheless work to ease their anxiety and suffering.

     Mary, Lady and Mother,
     you experienced the kindness of strangers -
     simple hospitality -
     gifts of great price.
     Pray for those who offer care to people they do not know
     using their skills with kindness and compassion.

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